Find Mediators Near You:

Dr. Joan Kelly’s Top Ten Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Fallout of a High Conflict Break-Up

I have been fortunate to train with Joan B. Kelly, who is world-renowned for her research, teaching and working with children of divorce. She is a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. from Yale and, luckily, she lives in Marin County, so I have been able to attend several of her trainings.

Here are Joan’s Top Ten recommendations for divorcing parents on how to minimize the impact of divorce on their children. While she writes it for high conflict divorces, I think her wisdom applies to all divorcing families.

1. Talk to your children about your separation.

2. Be discreet.

3. Act like grown-ups. Keep your conflict away from the kids.

4. Dad, stay in the picture.

5. Mom, deal with anger appropriately.

6. Be a good parent.

7. Manage your own mental health.

8. Keep the people your children care about in their lives.

9. Be thoughtful about your future love life.

10. Pay your child support.

If you would like additional information about these recommendations, let me know.

If you are a divorcing or divorced parent, you’ll want to read her book: Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce.


Nancy Hudgins

Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


You Must Sign On The Dotted Line

From the Blog of Phyllis G. Pollack. Recently, a California appellate court re-affirmed the requirement that the parties, themselves, and not their attorneys, must either sign a settlement agreement or...

By Phyllis Pollack

Time To Make Peace: Factors in When Peace Makes Sense

From the Mediation Matters Blog of Steve Mehta.A new study published in Economic Inquiry addresses the question: “If we can make a deal, why fight?” The authors conclude that a combination...

By Steve Mehta


Cinergy Coaching by Cinnie NobleAs we know, the word please is usually meant to be a polite statement that accompanies a request of another. With a drawn out pronunciation and...

By Cinnie Noble